surabhi-prabhu

Surabhi: When Prabhupada came to Vrindavan on one of his trips, I came to his room to report what was going on. Prabhupada was concerned about the lack of progress on the temple construction and asked, “Why is it so slow? I thought that we were building. There's money, why is it not built? We had money before?” “Yes, Prabhupada, we bought the steel, we ordered the cement, and we have the sand. We got truckloads of sand. But we don't have enough money to buy the bricks. He said, “You buy this, you buy this and buy this, but you don't buy bricks?” I said, “Well, because we have to buy the minimum. We have to buy so much steel, and if we only buy one truck then we will run out very soon so we have to order three or four trucks together. But then there was no more money to buy the bricks.” He said, “Then do hundi.” “Hundi? Ah, hundi?” “Yes, hundi.

It's a very old system here in India. You can do hundi.” I said, “How do I do that Srila Prabhupada?” He said, “Well, you go to the supplier and you say 'Please can you give me hundi’, and then you tell him what you want.” “Oh, so I say hundi and then I tell him what I want and then I get it?” I added, “But they may not believe me, they may think I may be going to steal from them.” He said, “No, you say, 'Swamiji said give hundi.'” “Just like that Srila Prabhupada?” “Yes.”

We went to Ganga Prasad and we just followed Prabhupada's instruction. I said, “Gangaji, we would like to have hundi from you.” He said, “Hundi?” I said, “Yes.” “You're sure hundi?” I said, “Yes.” [laughs] I said, “Swamiji said.” “Ah, Swamiji said hundi.” He smiled and said, “Okay, okay what do you need?” “Four trucks please. [laughs] Best quality please.” “Best price.” He said, “I’ll give you best quality, I'll give you the quantity you want, but the best price you have to leave up to me. I will deal with Swamiji about that.” I said, “Okay.” The next day we had four trucks of bricks and the work started. Then when the money came in we of course paid off the brick debts that we were paying with hundi. [laughs]

(Compiled by Mahavishnu Dasa)